An impaired man driving the wrong way on the interstate in Old Fort sent four people – including himself – to the hospital after a Saturday night crash, according to authorities.

At 11:33 p.m. Saturday, emergency units responded to I-40 eastbound in Old Fort at the 69 mile marker after receiving reports of a motor vehicle collision involving multiple vehicles.

According to Sgt. J.A. Williams with the N.C. Highway Patrol, a 2006 Jeep, driven by 32-year-old Deondra Gaines Jr. of Marion, had been traveling west in the eastbound lane near the second runaway truck ramp when it collided head-on with a 2016 Volvo, driven by 52-year-old Mark MacNaughton of Columbus, Ohio.

Eastbound traffic on I-40 was closed for approximately two hours, reopening at 1:30 a.m.

Gaines, MacNaughton and two passengers in the Volvo were transported to Mission Trauma Center in Asheville with significant injuries. Gaines was subsequently charged with driving while impaired and driving the wrong way, according to Williams.

Old Fort Fire Department, McDowell EMS, McDowell Rescue Squad and the N.C. Highway Patrol responded to the call.

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